Hope for Citrus Greening control does not include synthetic pesticides

Photo Credit:  Clark H Photo Credit: Clark H

Research shows hope for control of citrus greening, and the answers are compatible with organic management. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have developed a new technique to control the devastating disease threatening the citrus industry. Citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), is a serious threat to the US citrus industry, and has no known cure or effective treatment. USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Fort Pierce, Fla., have found that heating potted citrus seedlings in growth chambers can rid seedlings of HLB symptoms.  Additionally, encasing infected trees in plastic tents to heat them in the sun also can slow citrus greening damage and prolong productivity. Researchers at the ARS U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory exposed HLB-infected citrus seedlings to different levels of heat. The results were published in the journal Phytopathology and showed that exposing citrus seedlings to high temperatures significantly reduced or completely eliminated HLB infection for over two years.  What is most promising about these results is that they are not reliant on synthetic chemicals and can therefore be used on conventional and organic citrus trees alike.